2014 was a good year for sales with numbers increasing 21.6% year-on-year to 365,342 according to the Ministry of Public Works. The Ministry’s statistics showed that sales to foreigners made up a record 16.7% of all purchases for the year, equating to 61,062 property purchases by foreigners in 2014.
While this record share of the market can be explained in part by the fact that overall transactions are well down in comparison with the years during the boom, it is still an important statistic and one which proves that Spain’s enduring popularity with foreigners is as strong as ever.
The reasons for the high level of foreign purchases are in general terms, the same as ever, with the weather, lifestyle, proximity, healthcare and culture providing the main attractions. There are also factors which have come into play as a result of the crisis: great choice due to high levels of stock, hugely discounted prices and the decrease in the cost of living in Spain.
Buyers from abroad have been encouraged by the improving global economic conditions and, more specifically, those in Spain as well as the fact that prices appear to have bottomed out in the majority of the country’s prime tourist areas and that the amount of high quality stock in these locations is dwindling as investors snap it up.
The Spanish property developer TM Real Estate Group has recently released a report on what it sees as being the principal reasons for which foreigners buy in Spain. The developer’s study looked at the specific reasons which motivate buyers from four important foreign markets to invest in Spanish property.
According to TM’s report the majority of British buyers are those over 60 years old who have already retired or are about to retire and middle class families with annual income of over €36,000. These buyers are looking for a relaxed, laidback area in which to purchase and the main factors which draw them to Spain are the climate, flight connections and Spanish healthcare.
Belgian buyers have become ever more commonplace in Spain during recent years and in the 4th quarter of 2014 made up 6.9% of all foreign buyers, in fourth place behind the British, French and Germans. Belgian buyers are in general couples over 50 years of age with a high level of education and an annual salary of over €60,000 whose favourite pastimes include eating out and outdoor sports. Buyers from Belgium value proximity to the sea, high quality services and the climate above all else when purchasing in Spain.
The majority of Russian buyers are well-educated family men between 35 and 45 years of age who are married and with children. They are businessmen who earn €80,000 or more annually and enjoy going to the beach, shopping, water sports and excursions. For buyers from Russia Spain’s quality of life and the possibility to obtain residency provide the main attractions.
TM sees Scandinavian buyers as having the highest average wealth of the four groups that it studied with annual income of €90,000 or more. They are made up of retired and middle-aged couples aged between 45 and 70 who are looking for a property abroad which allows them to play golf, cycle or relax on the beach. Their main motivations for buying in Spain are the sunny and healthy climate and the good flight connections to their home countries.